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However, we didn├ó┬?┬?t think of local purchasing as a ├ó┬?┬?political act├ó┬?┬? merely the way to get the highest quality products. In 1999 we came to a turning point. We realized how much flavor was being lost in exchange for agribusiness efficiencies and decided to begin a concerted effort in support of local farmers to preserve flavor on the plate.
Farm to Fork is now a company-wide initiative to buy locally. Our first choice is to purchase seasonal and regional ingredients from a 150-mile radius of each restaurant. These gems of the earth are often prepared and served within 48 hours of harvest. The result is healthier communities and customers.
By buying directly from farmers we have much more control over what types of agribusiness we are supporting. We support family farms and farm collectives such as AMO Organics, a cooperative made up of farmers who have made the transition from farm-worker to farm-owner. We also support farmers who are preserving the diversity of our food choices by planting heirloom vegetables rather than genetically-modified "super-produce."
Farm to Fork also has an affect on the flavor and nutritional value of the food we serve. A tomato grown without pesticides and ripened on the vine tastes unbelievably better than one sprayed with chemicals, picked while still green, trucked thousands of miles and force-ripened in a warehouse. It is especially important to Bon App├?┬ętit chefs to start with food that is alive with flavor since we cook everything from scratch and don't use "flavor enhancers" such as MSG.
In addition, buying ingredients from within a 150-mile radius greatly reduces ├ó┬?┬?food miles├ó┬?┬? ├ó┬?┬? the distance food travels from harvest to table. This decreases global warming, air pollution, water pollution, traffic congestion and the need for oil.
Bon App├?┬ętit now spends over $55 million per year with small local farmers and artisans. Buying 100% locally is not yet practical but the commitment we have made to Farm to Fork is to help insure that our community can eat well today and tomorrow.
(This listing was last updated on Jun 10, 2010)